Words & Photography: Wesley McLean-Nosworthy
One of the joys of being a child in the kitchen is getting that small sample of the raw cookie dough right before it’s put in the oven and turned into a soft, chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookie. Even if your mother would scold you for trying to sneak in a second scoop, the dough was too decadent to stop yourself.
do’licieux is an independent raw cookie dough shop in Vaudreuil-Dorion, just west of the island of Montreal. As soon as you walk into the cozy, living room-like sitting area, the aroma of various flavours of cookie dough create an olfactory front that makes you feel right at home. Owner Janet Lough opened the store in August 2018, a mere four months after leaving her previous job in non-profit fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
“I decided it was time for my next chapter in life […] I’m a home baker at heart. That’s a passion that I’ve always had,” Lough explains. “I left my previous job in April and I made the decision [to open the shop] after discovering this amazing concept online and doing some research and visiting some of the spots in the U.S.”
Janet Lough is the owner of do’licieux, Montreal’s first edible raw cookie dough shop.
Raw cookie dough is a growing food trend in the United States, with Los Angeles-based online shops like Edoughble and Unbaked, and institutions like DŌ in New York taking off in the last few years. Knowing it hadn’t made major waves in the Canadian food scene just yet, Lough was convinced that with her passion for baking, she could open her own shop in her community. As it stands, do’licieux is the only shop of its kind in the Montreal area, and one of few in the country.
With the research done, Lough had an idea of what she would need to accomplish to open this shop and started immediately. Lough did everything independently, from finding the location to designing the store’s interior, to creating the recipes. With the help of a friend, she even designed the store’s logo in-house. Lough made sure to involve others during the research and development process, too.
“[I was] testing out recipes with my kids, kids in the neighbourhood and [all my kid’s friends] to perfect [the dough],” she said
The Fiesta flavour dough is a classic dough, with sprinkles, chocolate chips and gummy bears.
But being delicious isn’t the dough’s only requirement to be ready to sell. For as long as there has been cookie dough, there have been known risks associated with eating it in its raw form.
“There’s this thing we’ve all heard growing up,” Lough explains, “that we shouldn’t be eating raw cookie dough because it will make you sick. And our mothers were right.”
Lough fixing a cup of the shop’s D’Oh Canada flavour, a red velvet dough sprinkled with white chocolate chips.
The reason for this is because cookie recipes commonly use raw flour. To ensure her raw cookie dough is safe to consume, Lough, uses special heat-pressed flour. Dr. Hosahalli S. Ramaswamy, a professor in the Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry department at McGill University, explains raw flour, like raw eggs and other foods, can become contaminated with pathogens and needs to be treated in specific ways to be edible. When it comes to raw flour, Ramaswamy points out grains can become contaminated as they’re growing in the fields.
“[They] can come from contaminated farms nearby, contaminated water, organic fertilizers,” she says. “The flours made from them can obviously harbour these pathogens, and they can find their way to the cookie doughs, making them unsafe [to eat raw].”
But, the dough at do’licieux uses a special heat-pressed flour, which makes Lough’s raw creations safe to eat.
“Heat treated flours do not suffer from such problems, because the heat treatments are aimed at killing [possible contaminants],” Ramaswamy says.
do’licieux employee Dalia Dirico prepares the shop’s signature do-do pops.
Being open for under eight months, the small-town shop has already built up a reputation as a favourite amongst locals. With over 1,900 followers combined across Facebook and Instagram, and an average rating of five stars on the former, and 4.9 stars on Google, the shop is a hit with locals.
Ashlen Keeble, a do’licieux customer, is a huge fan of the employees’ hospitality and the store’s homey interior design.
“do’licieux is without a doubt always a friendly experience. I almost always chat with whoever is working,” Keeble explains, “[I also] love the Pinterest feel it has. [The] beautiful bay window where you can sit allows for a lot of sunlight to come in. They also have a chalkboard wall with a theme every month for customers to add a little something, [which is] very cute.”
This positive reception of the store has been surprise to Lough, but one she welcomes with open arms.
Customers say do’licieux’s homey nature makes eating at the dessert shop feel like a living room hangout.
“What has surprised me [the most] was how much community support there was out there,” Lough says. “I was hoping that the community would embrace this new idea, and new concept, but I’m kind of overwhelmed with the actual support from the community and how much they really want [the shop] to be successful.” She also makes sure to give back by catering local events and fundraisers.
Though she wants to finish the store’s first year before she commits to expanding, Lough plans to launch the store’s official website in April. Through this site, people will be able to order her products Canada-wide.
“The next immediate phase for do’licieux is to ship across Canada,” Lough explains. “What that’s also going to do is help us identify the markets that are really ripe and ready for another location. That’s information I want before making the decision [to open new locations].”
While the store’s success has led Lough to think about expansion for both online and brick-and-mortar locations, for the time being, she says she’s happy with being an independent store in a close-knit community.
“[The best part] is the customers. It really is,” Lough explains. “As much as I love making the dough […] it’s really seeing their happy faces, seeing them enjoying it, you know? It’s a happy place. You come in here, you’re having a treat, people are in a great mood. What’s not to like? It’s a very easy day-to-day place to come to. For me, it feels like my home away from home.”